Best electronic drum sets 2024: Top picks for every playing level and budget

Over the last two decades the best electronic drum sets (which you may also hear referred to as 'e-kits' or 'electric drums') have edged ever closer to replicating the experience of playing an acoustic set. From the physical hardware – such as adjustable rack systems and responsive drum and cymbal pads, usually made of rubber or mesh – to drum trigger technology that produces a sound when you strike a pad, electronic drums just keep getting better. And, as technology trickles from the top down, there's never been a time where you get so many great features for your money at every level.

Right now, there’s an electronic kit to suit every type of player. Many drummers want to practice at home, but are restricted by how much noise they can make and when, making an acoustic kit a no-go. Then there are pro drummers who need reliability, performance and control over their sound, both live and in the studio. The best electronic drums are capable of delivering everything from headphones-based quiet practice alongside excellent tuition tools, right up to effortless recording functionality. In fact, most e-kits are well equipped for both scenarios.

With an ever-growing list of options, brands and price-points, it can be tough knowing where to start the search for your first, or next, e-kit. If you’re here to learn more before you decide which are the best electronic drum sets in 2024 - and which is the right one for you - head to the end of the guide where you'll find comprehensive buying advice written by our in-house experts, explaining everything you need to know about electronic drums and what to look for before you make a purchase. If you'd rather get straight down to business, then our top picks are up next.

You'll find a link out to a full review at the bottom of each kit entry if you want to go into more detail. We've unboxed and thoroughly tested every kit that's featured in this guide so you know that our assessment is based on hands-on experience and backed up by years spent playing a huge range of e-drums. Additional, we've filmed sound demo videos for some of the kits in this guide.

The quick list

Recent updates

13/02/24: We made further improvements to the labelling of our top picks to ensure readers know exactly why we're recommending each kit. We also added a 'meet the experts' section so you can get more insight into the people responsible for writing and updating this buying guide.
02/02/24:
The Alesis Nitro Mesh was replaced in this guide by the new Alesis Nitro Max, which we recently tested. We also added buy if/avoid if copy for each product entry to help you decide if it's the right kit for you.
01/11/23: This guide was updated to add more clarity to some product entries and to streamline the buying advice.
24/08/23:
We replaced the Roland TD-1DMK with the Roland TD-02KV, a kit we recently reviewed. The DMK has been discontinued and the 02KV is an ideal replacement for those looking for a beginner-friendly kit from Roland.
19/06/23: This guide was overhauled to improve ease of navigation, particularly for mobile users. A product audit was conducted at the same time.

Best for beginners

The best beginner electronic drum set with excellent sounds

Specifications

Configuration: 4x mesh toms/snare, 1x bass drum tower, 1x integrated hi-hat pedal, ride, crash and hi-hat cymbals
Kits: 32 factory, 16 user
Sounds: 440
Connections: Pad inputs (cable snake), L/R audio output, headphone output, aux input, 2x trigger inputs, USB, Bluetooth

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic BFD-fuelled sound library
+
Realistic feeling mesh drum heads
+
Bluetooth connectivity is great for jamming and online lessons
+
Impressive software bundle included

Reasons to avoid

-
Some elements of the module are fiddly to use
-
There are some limitations with pad zones
At a glance

Buy if you're a beginner on a budget: At the $/£400 price-point there is no better mesh-headed kit on the market right now, and the features are a step above anything else we've tested.
Avoid if you need sturdier hardware: While the Nitro Max is more than usable, there are kits out there that deliver more robust pads and racks.

The Alesis Nitro Max supersedes and builds upon the best-selling Nitro Mesh kit, until now one of our favourite beginner electronic drum sets. While the hardware looks and feels very similar to that kit, a key Nitro Max upgrade is the module, which is the first of its kind to feature sounds from the excellent BFD drum sample library. 

These sounds are noticeably better than you’ll find on other kits at this price point, particularly on kicks and snares which we found to be both rich and dynamic.

The kit comes ready to go with 32 pre-ordained kits, but there’s space for 16 additional kits that you can spec up yourself from the available BFD sounds. Additionally, the Nitro Max comes bundled with BFD Player software, which not only makes it easy to record your kit, but also gives you tools for deeper editing of sounds and access to an even bigger library of sounds. 

The Nitro Max configuration includes a 10" dual-zone mesh snare, three 8” single-zone mesh toms, a bass drum tower with 6-inch pad - that we found worked just fine for our double pedal - a 10” dual-zone crash (choke-able), two additional single-zoned cymbals (one for hi-hat and ride cymbal), hi-hat controller pedal and a complete four-post drum rack. It’s a tried and tested set-up that we already loved on the previous model, and ticks all the right boxes on this new model in terms of feel and delivering an authentic playing experience.

Another key upgrade to the module is the inclusion of Bluetooth connectivity. This feature is common across most new e-kit launches, however there are few kits at this price point with that functionality, so it’s a great addition for drummers who love to play along to tracks on a smart device, or watch online lessons. 

Further highlighting this kit’s beginner-friendly credentials, the package comes with 100 free lessons, a 30-day trial to drum-learning app Melodics, and a 90-day subscription to Drumeo. For learning, jamming and improving on a budget, there is no better package right now. And if you’re a more advanced drummer looking for a cheap practice kit, this would make a convenient and affordable home setup.

Read the full Alesis Nitro Max review

Best on a budget

Overhead view of Roland TD-02KV kit on a rug

(Image credit: Stuart Williams)
Roland’s best e-kit for drummers on a budget

Specifications

Configuration: 1x PDX-8 mesh snare pad, 3x PD-4 tom pads, 3x CY-5 cymbal pads, 1x FD-1 (hi-hat) 1x KT-1 (bass drum)
Kits: 16, preset
Coach modes: Four
Connections: 1x pad cable loom, headphone output, mix input, USB, Bluetooth (via Boss BT-Dual adapter, sold separately)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sounds
+
Easy to use
+
Sturdy frame
+
Responsive playing

Reasons to avoid

-
Bluetooth and three-zone ride pads cost extra
At a glance

Buy if you want quality build: Roland's hardware is superior to every other brand, so for a beginner kit that feels sturdy and built to last, this is the one.
Avoid if you're on a strict beginner budget: Roland has built a strong reputation, but that reliability and trustworthyness will cost you.

Roland's latest addition to the V-Drums family is a hugely compelling offering if you're just starting out. It features a Roland dual-ply mesh head on the snare pad, neat and responsive bass drum and hi-hat controller pedals, and studio-quality sounds that are some of the best we’ve heard at this price point.

The TD-02 module also has Bluetooth capability for jamming to your music collection - a feature we've enjoyed seeing roll out to kits at the cheaper end of the spectrum - although you will need an adapter which comes at an additional cost.

There are more affordable options out there (see the Alesis Nitro Mesh above), just as there are kits with more sounds and features, however during our tests we discovered that the TD-02KV represents a cohesive package that you’ll want to sit down at months (and hopefully years) after you’ve bought it. Add to this some comprehensive coaching functions for developing players and it’s clear that Roland has considered who, how and where this kit is designed for.

Read the full Roland TD-02KV review

Best under $/£1,000

One of the best compact - and sub-$/£1k - kits here that's ideal for intermediate players

Specifications

Configuration: 4x mesh toms/snare, 1x bass drum pad, 1x integrated hi-hat pedal, 2x cymbals, 1x hi-hat pad
Kits: 50
Sounds: 143
Connections: CD/MP3 aux input, USB MIDI/audio, Bluetooth, stereo line/headphone outputs

Reasons to buy

+
Premium mesh heads  
+
Tensionable pads 
+
Bluetooth
+
USB audio/MIDI

Reasons to avoid

-
You might want to upgrade the hi-hat from a pedal controller to stand-mounted
At a glance

Buy if you're short on space: Not only is the TD-07KV a well-equipped beginner to intermediate kit, it also has a pleasingly compact footprint, making it ideal for small spaces.
Avoid if you you want a stand-mounted hi-hat: The TD-07KV comes with a hi-hat pedal controller. You'll need to pay out for the 07KVX if you want stand-mounted hats.

With Roland's patented, tuneable, dual-ply heads across the snare and toms, plus a standalone kick drum pad, the TD-07KV is one of the most affordable, no-compromise setups in the V-Drums family, and one of the best intermediate kits we've tested in a long time.

Couple the feel of the mesh pads with the expertly-captured sounds and you have the ideal platform for getting started, on a kit that will last you many years to come. 

On-board Bluetooth allows you to jam with your music library wire-free, and the built-in coaching modes will help keep your timing in-check. Finally, there's a USB MIDI/audio interface which will allow you to connect to your computer for recording.

Read the full Roland TD-07KV review

Best for aesthetics

The best looking high-end kit

Specifications

Configuration: 12”x4” single-zone kick drum pad; a 12”x4” triple-zone stand-mounted snare pad; 2x 10”x3.5” dual-zone tom pads; 2x 12”x4” dual-zone tom pads; 14” triple-zone stand-mounted hi-hat pad with optical sensors; 2x 16” triple zone crash cymbals; 18” triple zone ride cymbal
Kits: 16
Sounds: 100+
Connections: USB MIDI In/Out, Bluetooth Audio Input, Bluetooth MIDI In/Out, MIDI Out: 5-pin DIN, USB Audio: 8-ch Output / 2-ch Input (Mac/Windows ASIO)

Reasons to buy

+
Limited but high quality selection of stereo sounds
+
Loads of editing options
+
Hi-hat and cymbal pads are fantastic

Reasons to avoid

-
Minimalist module means lots of menu diving
-
Module touchscreen isn’t that sensitive
-
We weren’t big fans of the tripod stands
At a glance

Buy if sounds are most important to you: While you don't get a huge number of sounds native to the module, they are the best we've heard at this price point.
Avoid if you hate menu diving: There's a learning curve to the EFnote module, so if you want a plug and play kit you'll need to shop elsewhere.

With decades of experience working for Roland and ATV, EFnote’s product designers have hit the ground running since launching the brand in 2018. Both the technology and striking visuals across their range has made EFnote a brand to watch, and despite being one of their cheaper kits, we think the 3X is just fantastic. 

Mesh pads sporting shallow shells in a textured black oak finish pair nicely with EFnote’s signature grey cymbals, including a stand-mounted hi-hat pad which we found to be a standout feature of this kit in our tests. Optical sensors map the motion of the cymbal in 3D leading to realistic response and reaction.

The minimalist module - complete with touchscreen - is certainly a break from the mainstream and, despite some niggles we found with screen sensitivity and some pretty involved menu diving, there’s plenty to shout about too. We love how much sound editing capability there is at your fingertips while the on-board sounds, although quite limited, are fantastic and almost 100% usable out of the box. 

Read the full EFnote 3X review

Best non-mesh kit

A seriously good-looking e-kit that won't kill your bank balance

Specifications

Configuration: 3x 10” dual-zone toms, 12” tri-zone snare, 7.5” KP90 bass drum pad, 2x 13” tri-zone crashes, 15” tri-zone ride, 13” dual-zone hi-hats
Kits: 40 presets w/ space for 200 user kits
Sounds: 712 individual samples w/ space for 1,000 user samples
Connections: 1x ¼” headphone jack, 3.5mm aux in, 2x ¼” jack ouptuts (L/mono & R), USB to device, USB to host, MIDI out

Reasons to buy

+
Not far off the flagship model
+
Mesh heads feel great
+
Module is easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Still a couple of grand
At a glance

Buy if you want simplicity: The DTX-PRO module is very intuitive and easy to use, so you can dial in your sounds quickly and get playing.
Avoid if Bluetooth is a deal-breaker: You won't be able to stream music or follow online lessons wirelessly with this kit.

While Yamaha's music instrument manufacturing is only a small aspect of their wider business, it has consistently made some of the very best acoustic and electronic drum sets on the market. The DTX8 series is no different, and especially when it comes to this e-kit - the DTX8K-M - which is, in our opinion, one of the best Yamaha electronic drum sets to date.

The DTX8K-M, much like any electronic drum set, is nothing without its module. The DTX-PRO module featured on this e-kit delivers 40 fantastic kit presets which are modelled on some of Yamaha's top-quality acoustic drum sets, and with space for 200 user kits onboard too, you'll have endless hours of fun crafting your own killer sets for any style of music you can think of. The DTX-PRO module also enables you to quickly add or edit the ambience, compression or effects which are influencing your drum tones - giving you ultimate tweaking power over many aspects of your sound.

The DTX8K-M features a complement of mesh heads - made by industry giants Remo - to provide you with a realistic, comfortable and enjoyable playing experience. Mesh heads have not always been available on Yamaha e-kits, so this is a welcome option for anyone who wants that realistic, physical feedback while playing. This drum set is also available with Yamaha's TCS (Textured Cellular Silicone) heads. For those, you'll have to pay more - but if they do it for you, then we'd say it's worth it. 

Read the full Yamaha DTX8K-M review

Best e-kit overall

Simply put, one of the best electronic drum kits you can buy today

Specifications

Configuration: 10” rack tom and two 10” floor toms, PD-140DS digital snare, CY-18DR digital ride, VH-14D digital hi-hats, CY-14C-T crash and one CY-16R-T crash/ride, KD-140-BC bass drum
Kits: 70
Sounds: 900+

Reasons to buy

+
Digital ride, snare and hats are truly amazing
+
Smaller pads mean a more compact kit
+
SD card slot opens up a host of new functionality
+
The cheapest way to own a TD-50

Reasons to avoid

-
Some may not favour the same-size tom pads
-
Price might be too rich for some
At a glance

Buy if you want the best e-kit tech out there: From the digital hi-hats, ride and snare drum, to the module loaded with sounds, editing functionality and digital modeling, this is a true flagship kit.
Avoid if your budget is limited: Let's face it, this level of tech costs, but there are plenty of great alternative kits for a fraction of the price.

The newest addition to the TD-50 range is the TD-50K2, which sits alongside the larger TD-50KV2. The latter boasts an additional tom pad and a KD-180, 18-inch bass drum, while the former comes with a weighty KD-140 pad. Both kits take advantage of the powerful new TD-50X module, which delivers digital ride, snare and now hi-hats. This K2 is the most affordable and compact entry-point to the TD-50X module. Beyond this, you’re stepping into far pricier KV2 or VAD territory.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the TD-50K2 is the digital ride, snare and hi-hats, which plug into the kit's module via USB. The ride not only feels more like a real cymbal thanks to its size and weight, but is also designed to respond more realistically due to multiple sensors on its surface. The snare uses the same digital technology to perform much more authentically than any previous model. We’ve fallen in love with the superb VH-14D digital hi-hats, too. Digital hats have never felt more realistic or responsive and the TD-50K2 is the most affordable kit to include them as standard.

The TD-50X module itself is the latest and best module in the V-Drums line-up. It plays host to over 900 sounds which utilise Roland's Prismatic Sound Modelling engine and way more editing parameters to help you fine-tune the sound to your liking. It’s also possible to import your own samples via SD card. These can be allocated as a primary sample, triggered by a chosen source, or blended with other samples using the new ‘sub-instrument’ menu. 

Other noteworthy features include balanced left and right XLR master outputs, a routing engine which allows the kit mixer to control only the headphone monitor mix without altering the front-of-house mix and 10-channel USB audio that allows multi-track recording straight to a computer.

For this kind of money one would expect some pretty groundbreaking stuff. Thankfully, Roland hasn't failed to deliver with the endlessly customisable new TD-50X.

Read the full Roland TD-50K2 review

More options that we've tested...

The above electronic drum sets are the ones we recommend you spend your hard-earned cash on if you're looking for a new setup, but these aren't the only models we've reviewed. We regularly test different e-kits to make sure we're recommending only the absolute best. Here are some notable mentions...

Best for connected features, plus quality Yamaha acoustic drum sounds

Specifications

Configuration: 4x rubber toms/snare, 3x cymbals, 1x bass drum tower, 1 x integrated hi-hat controller pedal
Kits: 10
Sounds: 287
Connections: USB, aux-in, stereo headphone output

Reasons to buy

+
Wide selection of quality sounds
+
Cymbals feel great to play
+
App-connected training

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited tom positioning options
-
Been around for a while now
At a glance

Buy if learning tools are important to you: The DTX402K is one the original and best when it comes to learning features, both on-board and via the Yamaha DTX402 Touch app.
Avoid if you want the latest gear: This kit has been around for many years now. While it's still a great option, there are more modern, innovative beginner kits out there.

Yamaha’s DTX402 series is aimed squarely at entry-level drummers. There are three kits in the 402 line-up, but for us the 402K is the best for tight budgets and offers plenty to help first-timers get started.

Out of the box the kit features a sturdy rack plus quiet, natural-feeling rubber drums and cymbals. In our experience rubber pads have always been far noisier and less forgiving than their mesh counterparts, but on this Yamaha the pads felt perfectly comfortable during extended playing periods. 

The DTX402 module is packed with 287 expressive drum and percussion sounds, 128 keyboard sounds, 10 customisable kits and nine reverb types. In addition, aspiring players will find multi-genre playalongs, recording functionality and ten training tools to boost timing, speed and expression. 

Impressively, the DTX402 is also compatible with Yamaha’s free DTX402 Touch app (iOS/Android), which enables deeper kit customisation, additional playing challenges and rewards as players improve.

While we still love this kit and you can't go wrong if you're in the market for a budget kit with great sounds, the 402 series is feeling (and looking) a little tired now, particularly since the launch of the new DTX6 series. We're hoping to see an overhaul of the range in the near future. 

You can explore more Yamaha options in our guide to the best Yamaha electronic drum kits.

Read the full Yamaha DTX402K review

The best all-rounder electronic drum set that will fit in small spaces

Specifications

Configuration: 4x mesh pads (snare & three toms), 1x rubber bass drum pad, 3x CY-5 cymbal pads
Kits: 25
Connections: CD/MP3 aux input, USB MIDI/audio, Bluetooth, stereo line/headphone outputs

Reasons to buy

+
Mesh snare and toms feel natural 
+
Super compact, ideal for small spaces 
+
Bluetooth connectivity is really useful 

Reasons to avoid

-
Bass drum pad is fixed 
At a glance

Buy if you want key features on a budget: With mesh heads, Bluetooth and a compact footprint The TD-07DMK is one of the best-equipped 'budget' kits.
Avoid if setup flexibility is important to you: While the pads and rack are all flexible enough to position where you want, the bass drum pad is fixed to one of the rack's posts, so your bass drum pedal position cannot be changed.

The Roland TD-07DMK is the most affordable electronic drum set in the newly-expanded TD-07 range. If you like the deep editing features and Bluetooth functionality of the TD-07 module, but don’t really need any of the other physical frills the TD-07KV, KX and KVX e-kits offer, then this could be the best electronic drum set for you.

Yes, it’s a more budget option, but don’t let that fool you. The TD-07DMK proves that Roland’s main concerns are playability and feel - with the double ply mesh heads providing a real-feel playing experience. Not only did we find the mesh heads near enough replicated real drum heads, but they’re also tensionable with a drum key, meaning we were able to personalise the feel and stick response to our liking.

The DMK is a compact, powerful e-drum kit perfect for beginner or intermediate players. With smaller CY-5 cymbal pads, and a bass drum pad (capable of taking a double bass drum pedal) attached to the right hand central leg of the frame, the TD-07DMK won’t get in the way when set up in your bedroom or studio space. It will fold down to fit into tight spaces, too.

While keeping the footprint small, Roland hasn’t scrimped on the DMK’s capabilities - with brilliant learning tools such as the Coach mode onboard the module. The Coach tests and scores your timing and accuracy, with exercises ranging from easy to hard, and for the more old-school among us there’s a rock solid in-built metronome to keep your playing in check.

Read the full Roland TD-07DMK review

The best value e-kit package

Specifications

Configuration: 1x 12” snare pad (3-zone), 3x 10” tom pads (2-zone), 10” kick drum pad built into a standalone tower, 12” hi-hat, 2x 12” crashes (2-zone plus choke), 14” ride cymbal (3-zone)
Kits: 48
Sounds: 300
Connections: Headphone, DV-9V, USB, USB disc, aux in, L/mono R output, MIDI out, Trigger in, Bluetooth

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing value package
+
Large adjustable rack
+
Responsive Remo mesh heads
+
Bluetooth

Reasons to avoid

-
On-board sounds could be better
-
Not a particularly compact kit
-
Saving kit customisations is a pain
At a glance

Buy if you want value for money: We've not seen such a great value e-kit package in a long time. In the box you get 5 drums, 4 cymbals, a real hi-hat stand, bass drum pedal and snare stand.
Avoid if you're limited on space: While this is a mega setup, the number of pads and use of real hat and snare stands means it has a large footprint.

If you’ve had your eye on a kit from one of the big brands - Roland, Yamaha, Alesis - but the prices are little out of your league for the spec you want, NUX is a brand you should definitely consider. Taking all the best bits from the competition, including responsive Remo mesh heads, a spacious rack and fully-loaded and great-looking module, the NUX DM-8 is one of the best value intermediate e-drum packages out there right now. 

In our tests we didn’t love the stock sounds, but with plenty of customisation on-board the module and the ease with which you can hook up to a virtual drum suite like Superior Drummer 3 and trigger higher quality sounds, we’re not going to ride them too hard. 

The 9-piece DM-8 is even more appealing when you take into consideration the compelling hardware offering - in the box you get 3 tom pads, a stand-mounted snare pad and kick drum tower, plus stand-mounted hi-hat, two crashes and a ride cymbal. Snare stand, hi-hat stand and bass drum pedal are all included in the box and everything mounts to a really sturdy, curved rack. All you need is something to sit on to get playing. 

The icing on the cake is features such as Bluetooth connectivity, USB recording and physical faders for each part of the kit on the front of the module for easy mixing on the fly, something we wish more kits still had.

Read the full NUX DM-8 review

The best sub £1,000 kit with real drum shells

Specifications

Configuration: 13"x5" snare, 10"x6" rack toms, 14"x14" floor tom (all dual-zone), 20"x16" bass drum (single-zone), 13" hi-hats (dual-zone), 2x 15" crash cymbals (dual-zone), 1x 18" ride cymbal (three-zone)
Kits: 40x user, 40x presets
Sounds: Over 800
Other features: Bluetooth, 8x Direct outputs, user sample import (USB stick), 70 playalong songs, metronome, 23 FX including compression and EQ per-pad

Reasons to buy

+
Full size wooden drum shells with mesh head and electronic flexibility
+
Bluetooth connectivity
+
Ideal for controlling software plugin libraries

Reasons to avoid

-
On-board sounds and editing aren’t as sophisticated as some
At a glance

Buy if you want real drum shells on a budget: It's impossible to argue against the value this kit represents. If you're ready to buy into the idea of drum triggers built into acoustic shells, this is an affordable starting point.
Avoid if sounds are important to you: The on-board sounds are a little dated and unrefined. Although you could always use the kit as a controller to trigger samples from your laptop...

In recent years, the trend for acoustic shells that incorporate electronics has emerged, and Millenium’s MPS-1000 kit brings this concept in at an extremely affordable price point.

As well as the five mesh head-equipped shells, you get two crashes, an 18” ride cymbal and acoustic-mounted hi-hats, but additionally, Millenium includes all the stands you need too.

We found that the sounds and editing features don’t really stand up to other kits of this style, but then it also comes in at between half/a quarter of the price. The built-in sounds are just fine for practice, especially if you spend some time tweaking with the trigger settings and built-in EQ.

Likewise, you can incorporate your own samples, and there’s Bluetooth on the module too.

But where we think this kit will really shine is as a MIDI controller for third-party sounds such as Superior Drummer. It’s less work than doing an acoustic conversion, and you can get playing straight away.

Read the full Millenium MPS-1000 review

The best for quality sounds at a reasonable price

Specifications

Configuration: 4x TCS toms/snare, 1x bass drum tower, 1x stand-mounted hi-hats, 4x cymbals
Kits: 40
Sounds: 712
Connections: Headphones (standard stereo phone jack x 1), aux-in (stereo mini jack), USB/MIDI out

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sound quality
+
Hands-on processing
+
Comfortable pad response
+
Sample import

Reasons to avoid

-
No Bluetooth
-
Sample management is complicated
-
The pad sizes feel small
At a glance

Buy if you want an alternative to mesh: We've been playing Yamaha's TCS silicone pads for years now and can vouch for their realism and durability.
Avoid if you want large pads: While they'll do wonders for your accuracy, the small dimensions of the pads (8 inch snare, 7 inch toms) had us wishing for slightly more pad real estate.

Yamaha's latest electronic kit certainly ticks the boxes if you're after a setup that delivers great sounds and plenty of editing options. Featuring Yamaha's TCS silicone pads in the snare and tom positions, one of the most comfortable bass drum towers we've tried and an acoustic-style hi-hat (stand included), there's a lot to be excited about. 

The DTX Pro module allows for a lot of processing, and thanks to the Kit Modifier controls on the top panel, you can apply and manipulate your sounds in real time, plus, you can import your own samples and map them to the pads too. We do feel that the kit would benefit from a software editor to make this process easier, so until then you'll need to make a good investment of time to really get to grips with the internal menu system.

The economical design of the pads means that they do feel small - we’d like a larger snare and floor tom pad - but overall the DTX6K3-X has all the hallmarks of a quality e-drum set and is one of our top choices.

Read the full Yamaha DTX6K3-X review

The best e-kit if you're looking for larger pads

Specifications

Configuration: 4x mesh snare/toms, 1x cloth bass drum tower, 4x cymbals
Kits: 50
Connections: CD/MP3 aux input, USB/MIDI, MIDI out, stereo line/headphone outputs, Bluetooth

Reasons to buy

+
Superb playability
+
Top-end sounds
+
Best-in-class Bluetooth system

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as many presets as some of its rivals
At a glance

Buy if you want a nice big snare pad: Considering it's one of the pads you'll hit the most, it's important that the snare feels as close to the real thing as possible. This kit ticks that box (literally) in a big way.
Avoid if you want a kit with real shells: At this point you're getting into the realms of being able to choose between standard low-profile pads and full shells. 

The big message with Roland's mid-range TD-17 line, which features new pad designs, sounds derived from the flagship Roland TD-50 module, as well as Bluetooth alongside the ability to import your own samples, is that electronic drums shouldn’t feel like a compromise to those who are learning and improving on an electronic kit. Hence Roland’s ‘Become a better drummer, faster’ tagline. 

High quality and highly configurable sounds aside, the main draw for us is the ability to import your own samples. You can throw whatever .wav sample you have onto an SD card and into the pool of 100 user slots. And we found that completing this process is a walk in the park.

Then comes the Bluetooth. Many drum companies have dabbled with their own systems, but this solution makes the TD-17 one of the best electronic drum sets around. Pairing your device and starting to play along to tracks is fast, and rock solid. The Roland TD-17K's sound quality, features and playability set a new benchmark for those looking for V-Drums they aren’t going to outgrow in a hurry.

Read the full Roland TD-17KVX review

A great mid-range kit with some top-end features included

Specifications

Configuration: Snare, 10-inch (dual zone); toms, 10-inch (dual zone); cymbals, 14” hats, 14” crash and 18”ride (triple zone - bell, bow and edge); kick, 10” tower-style; four-post stand
Kits: 40
Sounds: 901
Connections: Features: Built-in FX engine, USB audio, Bluetooth audio and MIDI

Reasons to buy

+
Triple-zone on all cymbals
+
USB and Bluetooth audio/MIDI
+
USB memory for tracks and recording

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly tricky menu system
-
Maximum of 40 kits with no dedicated user spaces
-
Pads are pretty loud when struck
At a glance

Buy if you want triple one cymbals: For maximum triggering options, 3 -zone cymbals are the way to go.
Avoid if customising your own kits is important: There's no space for user kits on the G3, so if you'd like to create your own setups you'll need to override a pre-programmed kit. 

They might not have been producing e-kits for long, but Gewa is no stranger to the drum world as European distributor of Drum Workshop, Gretsch, Latin Percussion, Gibraltar and more. The G3 Studio 5 is the latest addition to Gewa’s expanding digital drums line-up. The G3 Studio is the most affordable of the bunch, but still doesn’t come cheap.

The 5-piece shell-pack features three dual-zone 10” toms pads, a 12” dual-zone snare and a 10” tower-style kick pad - all of which use Remo double-ply mesh heads. For cymbals the kit includes 14” hi-hats, a 14” crash and gigantic 18” ride. We love the fact that all cymbals are triple-zone which enables separate bell, bow and edge triggering and we noted in our tests that cymbal response is fantastic, particularly with the ability to trigger 360 degrees around each pad.

The G3 Studio module shares many of the top-end features of its pricier siblings, including Bluetooth audio and MIDI, USB audio, importing of user one-shot samples, recording to USB memory or playing audio tracks, multi-fx and more, so we found there was plenty to play with out of the box.

There are 40 preset kits on-board the module, which are all of decent quality. We liked ‘American Vintage’, ‘Purple Heart’ and ‘Collectors’ for their obvious DW referencing and there are plenty of presets to cater for most styles of music.

Read the full Gewa G3 Studio 5 review

The best kit for live use

Specifications

Configuration: 2x 10” & 1x 12” dual-zone toms, 12” tri-zone snare (w/ positional sensing), 12” bass drum pad, 13" hi-hats, 2x 15" crashes, 17" ride
Kits: 70 presets w/ space for 200 user kits
Sounds: 400+ samples w/ space for 1,000 user samples)
Connections: 1x ¼” headphone jack, 3.5mm aux in, 2x ¼” jack ouptuts (L/mono & R), USB to device, USB to host, MIDI out

Reasons to buy

+
Wooden shells look great
+
DTX-PROX module is top class
+
Samples sound amazing

Reasons to avoid

-
You'll need the manual when it comes to setting up the module 
At a glance

Buy if you want stunning sounds: The DTX-PROX module is jam-packed with excellent sounds (some of our favourites from any e-drum manufacturer) which can be edited to taste.
Avoid if you don't want a complicated module: You'll need to get familiar with the manual to get the best out of this module.

If you're looking for the the right Yamaha e-kit for you, then we think you may have found it in the DTX10K-X. The entirety of the DTX10 range is stunningly impressive - both visually and sonically - offering the user a truly enjoyable playing experience. But why?

While most of the biggest e-kit manufacturers opt for mesh heads (something which Yamaha now also provides), Yamaha has spent huge amounts of time, money and brain-power creating its spectacular TCS (Textured Cellular Silicone) heads. Granted, some people like the feel of a mesh head, but in terms of ultra-realism, TCS is the king. While the pads on this e-kit aren't exactly life-sized, we found their relative sizes made playing the DTX10K-X feel particularly familiar. The array of dual- and tri-zone pads, some with 'positional sensing', also enables players to explore the usually 'acoustic-only' sounds beyond rim-shots and rim clicks.

No e-kit is whole without its module, and the DTX-PROX module which comes with the DTX10K-X delivers a raft of tonal personality in the way of great samples, exceptional tweakability and even a range of effects. These include compression and ambience, as well as an effect level dial - which can help to bring your drums to life in a live or studio scenario. We found, during testing, that the trigger settings were set to a fairly generic level out of the box and needed some initial tweaking to suit our playing style. Although a get-the-manual-out kind of job, it was fully worth it - not only to make our playing sound better, but to also understand the guts of the module in more depth.

Read the full Yamaha DTX10K-X review

The best e-kit money can buy if you want real shells

Specifications

Configuration: KD-222 (bass drum), PDA100, PDA120, PDA140F (toms) PD-140DS (digital snare), VH-14D (digital hi-hats), CY-18DR (digital ride), CY-16R-T (crashes, x2)
Kits: 70
Sounds: 500
Connections: MIDI in/out, TRS trigger inputs x14, 3x digital trigger inputs, Master L/R out x2, USB audio/data, direct outputs x8, mix input, SD card slot

Reasons to buy

+
Just look at it. The finishes are spectacular
+
The module is incredibly versatile
+
The most realistic feel you’ll find anywhere 

Reasons to avoid

-
Two of these, or a house deposit. Your call
At a glance

Buy if you want the best of everything: This kit combines stunning wooden shells - available in a variety of striking finishes - all powered by the insanely good Roland TD-50X module.
Avoid if...: Well, if you have budget for the best of the best then there really is no reason to avoid buying a kit of this magnitude. 

Roland’s VAD (V-Drums Acoustic Design) electronic kits are works of art. We’d expect nothing less from a Roland flagship, which takes cues from companies such as Pearl, Alesis and ATV by housing electronic pads in full drum shells.

Featuring digital hi-hat, ride and snare pads, the 706 offers the kind of playability and natural feeling that Roland has made its name upon. As the most important elements of any drum kit, with these digital iterations you can expect to experience some impressively nuanced, detailed and great sounding drum tones - all powered by the formidable TD-50X module. 

Amongst the myriad sound-editing options, building a ‘signature’ sound has never been more thorough - with tuning and muffling adjustments available at the push of a button, as well as drumhead types, cymbal diameter, cymbal thickness, shell sizes and shell depths all up for customisation. This massive library of drum sounds was developed and recorded alongside top drummers and recording engineers, meaning the tonal recall of this e drum kit is remarkable.

Of course with Roland, it’s not all about the sounds and playability. It’s got to be aesthetically pleasing - and we think the VAD706 definitely steps up to the plate. Drum shells adorned with Gloss Natural, Gloss Ebony, Pearl White or Gloss Cherry prove you’ll always turn heads, whether in the studio or on stage. Yeah, it’s pricey - but as a flagship model, we feel like that’s kind of the whole point. This isn’t an example of great value for money, but an example of what the future of electronic drums looks like. 

Read the full Roland VAD706 review

Buying advice

Man plays Yamaha DTX6 series electronic drum kit

(Image credit: Future)

Here you'll find absolutely everything there is to know about electronic drum sets to help you choose the right option for you, whatever your budget or playing needs. All our advice comes from experts who have played, owned, reviewed and even sold kits over many years between them.

We've split our advice into useful sections. Just hit the links below to head straight to the info you need.

  1. How to choose the right e-kit for you
  2. Do you need an e-kit?
  3. Are electronic drum sets quiet?
  4. How compact are electronic drum sets? 
  5. Are e-kits easy to set up? 
  6. How does an electronic drum set work? 
  7. Drum modules explained 
  8. Do you need headphones or a speaker? 
  9. The difference between rubber and mesh pads 
  10. Recording with an e-kit 
  11. Playing live with an e-kit 
  12. Where to buy an electronic drum kit 
  13. Buying second hand
  14. Cleaning your e-kit
  15. How we test electronic drum sets

How to choose the right e-kit for you

When exploring the best electronic drum set for you, it depends entirely on what features you need and where you are in your drumming journey. 

Beginner drummers should be looking to spend no more than about $/£700 on their first e drum set. Most electronic kits in this price range will have the important basic features covered - a user-friendly module loaded with usable sounds, learning tools, durable build, adjustable rack system - with the odd extra feature thrown in for good measure. Most e-kits at this level come with mesh heads (or a worthy equivalent in the case of Yamaha’s TCS silicone pads), meaning you’ll have a fairly realistic feeling e-kit to cut your teeth on. We would advise against anything with rubber pads only as they offer nothing like the real feel of acoustic drum heads, are much noisier in the room than mesh and can put much more strain on the hands and wrists. Some kits may offer rubber tom pads but a mesh snare, which would be a workable compromise.

We’d personally recommend getting something with a ‘proper’ bass drum pedal and pad as opposed to a standalone controller pedal, such as the Alesis Nitro Mesh. This will help you improve your bass drum foot technique and makes swapping from electronic to acoustic drums much easier.

In this price bracket, most kits should have everything you need to start playing in the box, including drumsticks, pedals and the drums themselves. As with any electronic kit, you’ll also need to buy a drum throne and a pair of headphones for drummers, as they’re considered more ‘personal preference’ items. Towards the top end of this price bracket you’ll potentially also need to factor in the cost of a bass drum pedal and some drumsticks.

We go into depth on the subject of whether a beginner should start with an acoustic or electronic drum set in our dedicated feature.

Intermediate drummers will want to spend between $/£700-$/£1,500 on their electronic drum set. At this price point, you’ll start to get some really impressive features added in. We’re talking dual-zone pads which enable you to get multiple sounds/tones from a single pad, more sensitive and sophisticated triggering, better drum sounds and the ability to load your own sounds into the module - the list goes on. It’s also likely to be stronger and more durable, and will possibly come with an extra drum or cymbal pad (or both).

Some intermediate e kits will integrate traditional drum hardware into their setups too - most commonly a hi-hat stand, with an electronic pad mounted to it. This all adds to the feeling of realism, but will mean that your e-kit isn’t as compact as other self-contained options. In our opinion this is a worthwhile compromise. Having an e-kit that feels and sounds like an acoustic drum kit is particularly beneficial if you play both types of kit regularly, so you can switch between them seamlessly.

Shot of Roland TD-07 Module and iPhone, showing a Bluetooth connection

(Image credit: Future)

Professional drummers can expect to be spending anywhere from $/£1,500 to $/£8,000+ on a top-level electronic drum set. Like the other price categories, it all comes down to the features you need and what you’re using the kit for. If you’re touring the world with an e-kit, then a Roland TD-50KV2 or VAD706 would make excellent choices, but if you’re playing small venues, teaching drums or doing a lot of recording work, then these kits would likely be overkill.

The features that you can expect from kits in this price bracket are damn impressive. High-tech upgrades like digital triggering can upgrade your playing experience with added dynamics and the sound you produce infinitely. The modules are another key point of progression when you get to spending the big bucks, with super high fidelity drum sounds and loads of effects and ambience customisation coming as standard.

At this price point, you can also start exploring the world of e-kits with proper wooden drum shells (like Roland’s VAD series). These not only look fantastic, but again authenticate your playing experience. They’re as close to real drums as you’ll get - perfect if that’s your thing.

Do you need an electronic drum set?

If you’re unsure as to whether you need an electronic kit, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:

Are you in a position where you can make as much noise as you like? 

If you live out in the sticks with nobody around you, or have a soundproofed space where making noise is not an issue, then we’d recommend you look at getting yourself an acoustic drum set over an electronic one. Playing the drums is an experience that can be hard to replicate at low volumes, so if you can, we’d recommend making some noise with an acoustic drum set.

If you’ve got close neighbours, or people around you who won’t appreciate the considerable noise of an acoustic set, then electronic drums are definitely the way to go. They’re more convenient and compact than an acoustic set, come preloaded with hundreds of cool sounds for you to enjoy, are easier to transport and always sound good. But fair warning: an electronic drum set is not completely silent. You will hear the sound of sticks hitting the pads.

Do you need a kit for home practice?

If your electronic drum set is just for practice, then we’d say go for it. Trusting you can’t just make as much noise as you want with an acoustic set, an e-kit is as close to the real thing as you’ll get while keeping your neighbours or family happy. If it means you can put in more hours behind the kit, then we’re all for it. 

Do you want to record drums? 

Electronic drum sets have become increasingly powerful and convenient tools for recording drum parts for musical projects and band demos. If this is your plan, then the plug and play nature of an e-kit will be massively appealing and will make life super easy, not to mention the fact you can dial in whatever drum sounds you have in your head for the project you're working on, without the outlay on mics, studio space, and engineer etc. We’d always advocate recording acoustic drums in a proper studio with microphones where possible, but this isn’t realistic, convenient or affordable for a lot of people, so e-kits are the next best thing.

Will you be gigging with it?

If you’re going to be gigging with your drum set, again, we’d say that an acoustic drum set is best. A lot of our first gigs were in halls, garages, pubs or small venues - usually with small PA speakers, incapable of handling a full electronic kit going through them. For this reason, an acoustic drum set is preferable - unless you’re playing somewhere with reasonable sound equipment. 

Another pro for the acoustic drum set is how it feels in the room. When playing (or watching) a live show, you want to feel the music as well as hear it - and an acoustic drum set has a much greater presence, meaning that your live shows will probably benefit from using an acoustic kit.

Gigging with an electronic drum set would be best for someone who wants to change drum sounds often, or someone that uses a lot of pre-recorded samples. There are also certain styles of music such as hip hop, drum ‘n’ bass and jungle, that benefit from electronic drum sounds and samples - and for these styles, an electronic drum set would be ideal.

All this being said, e-kits are becoming increasingly viable as live instruments, delivering both the look and sound usually reserved for an acoustic kit.

What is the best electronic drum set to buy in 2024?

Roland VAD706 electronic drum set on white background

(Image credit: Roland)

What is the best electronic drum set to buy in 2024?

The best electronic drum set for you depends on a number of factors, including your playing level, your budget and what you'll be using the kit for. For example, if you only need an e-kit for quiet home practice you may not need one that enables you to import audio samples. Or if you're just starting out, you may want an electronic drum set that prioritises learning tools over myriad sounds and backing tracks.

Whatever your needs, these three kits are a great place to start:

Best electronic drum set for beginners

The Alesis Nitro Max is the ideal starter kit. Everything comes in one box and is easy to set up. It's lightweight too, so packing it away or moving it between rooms is no problem. The all-mesh drum pads go some way to giving you a similar experience to playing an acoustic kit and the module features an excellent range of sounds - powered by BFD - that should keep most drummers well occupied.

Best electronic drum set for established drummers

If you're beyond the beginner stage and you want a kit that offers better sounds, sturdier hardware and a generally more advanced playing experience then the Yamaha DTX6K3-X is a top choice. We love the stock sounds, and the fact you can enhance and manipulate with things like amboience, compression and effects straight from the front of the module. The TCS Silicone pads feel great too, while the rack feels completely unshakeable.

Best electronic drum set for pro drummers

Roland has long held the crown for making the best electronic drum sets when money is no object. The VAD706 sits right at the top of the tree in the Roland V-Drums Acoustic Design line-up, and for good reason. Not only do the full acoustic drum shells give the kit that traditional look that means it wouldn't look out of place on stage or in a top-end studio, but the TD-50X sound module is currently unbeatable when it comes to the technology on-board. Electronic drum set playing has never felt more natural or nuanced, and dialling in your sound has never been easier.

New releases on our radar

DW DWe

(Image credit: DW)

The electronic drum set world moves incredibly fast with a raft of new releases landing over the last few years. Most recently, Roland announced a pair of fantastically specced beginner/budget kits, the TD-02K and TD-02KV which boast the nifty new TD-02 module. We've already reviewed the 02KV and it features in this guide.

Elsewhere in the beginner market, Alesis recently launched the Alesis Nitro Max to replace the Nitro Mesh. It's another budget-friendly all-mesh kit, that boasts a sleek new module that features 32 drum powered by BFD, the leading drum sample library for Mac or PC. We reviewed it and confirm it's an excellent kit that's particularly suited to beginners. 

Another big launch of the last 12 months is the DWe, the new venture from Roland and DW. The headline feature is that all the triggers are wireless, so you can forget about trails of unsightly cables around the kit. Plus, you get a fully-fledged acoustic DW kit as part of the package (just remove the triggers and add your acoustic cymbals). We've played it and have plenty of thoughts about the hardware and software offering. You can read our review on MusicRadar soon.

We test everything we feature in this best electronic drums guide and we're always in touch with drum brands to ensure we can get hands-on with the latest kits as soon as we can. And you can rest assured this guide will be updated when we have tested them. 

Are electronic drum sets quiet?

Are electronic drum sets quiet?

While electronic kits are drastically quieter than acoustic drums, they’re not completely silent - the sound of sticks or your bass drum beater hitting a pad will create audible noise and vibrations in the room and through floors/walls. As such, there are a few things to consider when setting up your electronic drum set, and we’ve also compiled a guide to ways to make your electronic drum set quieter for further reading.

Think about where in your house the kit is going, first of all. If you live in a terraced or semi-detached house, then keeping your kit away from adjoining walls is a must. Place your kit either in a central room, or against an internal wall - that way the sound is more likely to be contained within your home. 

Avoid having your e-kit upstairs too, if possible. Us drummers tend to put a lot of force into a bass drum hit or hi-hat pedal stomp when we’re getting into a song, and that sound will quickly annoy people on the floor below you. 

For those living in flats or apartments, it’s not the end of the world though - as there are products available to help isolate the sound, such as Roland's NE10 Noise Eaters and Thomann’s Drum Noise Elimination Podium. If you’re on a budget, having a rug under the kit will help some of that extra noise to dissipate.

How compact are electronic drum sets?

Electronic drum sets are smaller than acoustic kits and pack down more easily thanks to their foldable racks and adjustable pad positions. They do still have a reasonable footprint when set up properly as, although the drum pads on an e-kit are typically smaller than the drums and cymbals of an acoustic kit, the actual positioning is exactly the same. It’s important that your setups (if you play both electronic and acoustic drums) are as similar as they can be as this makes transitioning between the two easier.

Most of the time, the more you spend, the bigger your e-kit will be. The drum pads on more expensive e-kits are usually a more realistic size, which means they’ll be bigger than the pads on cheaper e-kits. A lot of higher-end kits come with extra drums or cymbals too, the rack will be chunkier and the module larger. Worth considering when looking at buying one of the best electronic drum sets and space is a potential issue.